At the Guardian, Sam Jordinson reflects on the many moments of sexual tension found in Edith Wharton’s Pulitzer-winning novel, The Age of Innocence. “Every small moment takes on huge significance,” Jordinson writes. “Archer and May’s brief disagreements over whether or not windows should be left open somehow say more about the state of their relationship than any number of screaming rows might have done. There are all kinds of similar telepathies with flowers sent and not sent, envelopes left empty, parties attended and avoided. There’s also a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it ‘tremble’ in a library that changes the destiny of all the main characters in an instant. As a reader, the very act of decoding these messages immerses you ever deeper in the attitudes and customs of this strange world. It makes for a fascinating, engrossing experience.”
A Mississippi school district has decided to pull Harper Lee‘s To Kill a Mockingbird from its junior-high reading list because it “makes people uncomfortable.” The novel, which frequently tops the American Library Association’s “Frequently Challenged Book” list, tackles racism. See also: an essay on the symbolism of mockingbirds.
Sonia Faleiro takes a look at the “book boys of Mumbai” who participate in India’s quasi-illegal pirated book market. (It’s an issue also discussed in Akshay Pathak’s most recent dispatch on Indian publishing.) Faleiro notes that books often appear on the streets as soon as they’re released to stores – and also that by 1999, as much as “20 to 25 percent of all books sold in the country were pirated.” Meanwhile, the former production editor in me wonders, how the heck are they re-printing these books so quickly?